Skip to main content

Landless quake victims: Why are we deprived of state aid?

Gothelal BK of Nalang village of Dhading district feels helpless as he watches his villagers building houses at war footing. Seeing them, this homeless man does not know how to make one for his family. The government did not provide him the earthquake assistance grant distributed to quake victims because he did not have land registered in his name. “All the villagers will soon move into their new houses. But my family is doomed to live in tents. The government did not provide us the grant that it distributed to villagers. Neither did it provide us land,” BK shared with a feeling of being helpless against what he thinks as ‘state’s injustice’ to people like him.  BK’s family has been living in a hut covered with plastic sheets after the earthquake rendered them homeless in April 2015. Just like other quake victims, he also waited for nearly two years to start building new home. But his hopes were dashed. Every day when he sees his villagers’ houses coming into shape, he feels the pang. 


“I am a Nepali. I am a victim of the earthquake. And I am a landless. That makes me poorer than those who have land. So, why am I deprived of the state grants? Don’t you think people like me should be the first to receive state assistance?” BK said adding that his family never owned a piece of land. There are dozens of others like BK who are simply heartbroken and feel betrayed every day while other villagers construct their houses. Even though they have been living in the village since their grandparents’ time, most of the Dalit families do not have registered land. “We have been living here and using the farm as our own since our ancestors’ time. But we never needed to have a certificate to claim it,” BK stated. 

According to another landless earthquake victim of the village, Buddhilal BK, measurement of his house plot was done way back in 1977. But it was not registered under his name. “If I was bit clever, I would have procured the certificate then. Government officials measured my house plot but I was not efficient enough to have the paper work done then. Now I wish I would have done it,” he lamented.  Buddhilal stated that lack of awareness among Dalit people and other marginalized groups led to their sorry situation. “It was never a crime to have houses on unregistered land. At least I am not aware of such law,” he said.  “Aren’t we the citizen of this country? Though we have also been equally victimized by the earthquake, why is the government not providing us grant for house construction?,” Buddhilal asked sharing his unwillingness to accept state’s decision of providing grants only to quake victims who have land ownership certificate.  

A lot of quake victims in Nalang village, too are in trouble due to lack of registered land. They say that their forefathers in fact purchased land from earlier owners, but back then land registration certificates were not issued. “We didn’t receive the land for free. Our ancestors purchased it. Some of our lands were purchased in the days of grandparents,” said Manamaya Ghale. “But, we do not have land certificate. If it was not ours, we would not have been living here,” she added. Ghale stressed that the government should look at the matter fairly and give justice to quake victims like her. Instead of further victimizing the earthquake victims, they need support to get back to normal life, she said. As per the data of Natural Disaster Rescue Committee, 181 families in the district do not have registered land.  These landless quake victims have registered their names and status to the committee along with an appeal for justice. Raj Kumar Tamang, local of Thakre village laments that the appeal has not been answered. “Quake victims who had land have already received grants from the government and they are constructing houses. But our appeal is not heard.” 

Quake victims unaware of NRA house construction guidelines 

Even though the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) had issued public notice informing its guidelines for claiming the grant, few earthquake victims report that they are aware of it. In its notice, the NRA had asked people, who were yet to register their land. However, landless victims of Dhading state that they were not aware of it.  Shalikram Acharya, chief officer at the district’s land revenue informed that only one person had appeared with the request for registering land. However, VDC secretaries said that even they themselves did not know about the guidelines let alone the locals. Surya Prasad Devkota, secretary of Nalang VDC, informed that there are around 100 quake hit families in the VDC who don’t have land ownership certificate. “No, we have never been notified to have the landless people register their land. Or else, we would have done it,” he said. “We are going to take this matter to the reconstruction authority. This won’t be fair with the victims,” he informed adding that the deadline for registering the land was already over. 

Shanker Shrestha
MyRepublica

02/02/2017

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PM Dahal to discuss with ex-PMs, China affairs experts before China visit

As Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is preparing to pay an official visit to China on March 23, the PM is scheduled to discuss the matter with former Prime Ministers and China affairs experts beforehand. A meeting of former PMs and China affairs experts has been called at PM Dahal's official residence in Baluwatar at 9 am on Thursday in this regard, said PM Dahal's press advisor Gobinda Acharya. PM Dahal's prior discussions with former PMs and China affairs experts aims to take suggestions on bilateral and multilateral meetings. PM Dahal is scheduled to hold with Chinese officials during the visit, said PM's Secretariat. A Cabinet meeting scheduled to take place today evening will finalise issues to be taken up from Nepal side in the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, Acharya informed. PM Dahal is leaving Thursday for China to take part in the annual conference of Boao Forum for Asia to be held in Boao, Hainan province from March 23-26. On the occasion, PM Dahal is…

Amendment proposal at behest of India: Oppn MPs

Opposition lawmakers have claimed that the government registered the constitution amendment bill in Parliament at the behest of India. The opposition parties obstructed the meeting of Parliament for the third consecutive time on Sunday, demanding the withdrawal of the amendment bill, which proposes reviewing the province boundaries, the citizenship provisions and the criteria for representation in the National Assembly.
“It will be treachery if the constitution, which was promulgated with the backing of 90 percent of people's representatives, is amended on the instructions of any foreign country,” said Nepal Workers Peasants Party (NWPP) lawmaker Anuradha Thapa Magar while speaking at the House, Sunday. Lawmakers from opposition parties, including the CPN-UML, CPN (ML), NWPP, Rartriya Janamorcha and Nepa Party, stood up at their respective places and obstructed House proceedings right after Speaker Onsari Gharti announced commencement of the meeting.

As Speaker Gharti allowed the op…

Elections to oppose regional politics: Chair Oli

CPN (UML) chair and former Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has said that the upcoming elections will vehemently oppose and respond to the regional politics and forces involved in disharmonizing the social cohesion. Speaking in a program organized to extend thanks to the volunteers, artists and media for their presence and support shown during the party's Mechi-Mahakali Campaign (March 4-18), leader Oli said so. He added that the people will answer those forces by giving a majority seats to his party from upcoming elections.
Leader Oli further shared that the party will launch more effective programme in Province No 2 in near future. He added that the Madhesi morcha showed apolitical behaviors against UML during the campaign being intolerable due to fear of ending their illusion against the constitution and UML if UML launched effective and harmonious programs in Tarai.In another context, chair Oli shared that the attorney general suggested the election commission to touch the party s…